# Take Wolfram|Alpha Out to the Ball Game

July 13, 2009 —

Baseball is the great American pastime. We’re at the midpoint of the Major League Baseball season, and fans are gearing up for the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which will be played on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 in Saint Louis, Missouri. For baseball fans, this “Midsummer Classic” embodies much of what there is to love about baseball: a night at the park, hot dogs and Cracker Jacks, and top players from American and National League teams all on one diamond. But what we at Wolfram|Alpha love about baseball are all of the fast statistics that can be quickly computed and returned as easy-to-read graphs.

Wolfram|Alpha contains statistics and history for Major League Baseball teams’ wins, losses, pitching and batting histories, and more, from 1960–2008. This information allows you to easily compute statistics for a single season, or graph a visual history over decades.

Have you ever found yourself having to back up your support for your beloved Red Sox to a Yankees fan? By entering “wins New York Yankees Boston Red Sox” into Wolfram|Alpha’s computation bar, you will quickly learn how many wins each team had in the 2008 season, and see a historical graph of their wins since 1960.

In this example, Wolfram|Alpha computes the number of home runs hit by the rival Chicago Cubs and Saint Louis Cardinals in 2005, and provides a visual graph of the home runs hit by these teams over the decades.

So next time you find yourself sparring with fans of a rival team, give Wolfram|Alpha a try and see whether it can generate charts that help you make your case. We are adding to Wolfram|Alpha’s knowledge base all the time, so if there is something about baseball data that you’d like to see added, let us know by completing the feedback form that appears on the bottom of every page on Wolfram|Alpha.

Please can we have some W|A developers tell us how they have used W|A to help in its own development?

Posted by Brian Gilbert July 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm

This is nice but where are all the player’s stats? The sports and especially baseball statistics for every player would make this an incredible site with it’s calculating power. With the growing popularity of sabermetrics and the idea of finding new stats to track players I think wolframalpha would easily excel in these areas.

Posted by Bishop July 14, 2009 at 9:08 am

Wow, is there anything the program cannot compute? It’s interesting that it can compute stats for sports as well as academics…are there systems in place for medical information, statistics, and data? Also, it seems Governmental agencies could benefit from having statistics computed for various program outcomes.

Thanks for the link…keep up the good work!

Posted by Faye July 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm

@Bishop – Player names and stats will be under copyright by the MLB, so you’re not likely to see them here

Posted by Darryl July 21, 2009 at 11:06 pm

@Darryl – I think you’re wrong on the copyright status of baseball statistics. There’s a court case described here (http://www.allbusiness.com/services/legal-services/4465090-1.html) where the judge ruled that statistics are not copyrightable. Also, you don’t have to get statistics directly from MLB–there are sites like Fangraphs who’ve compiled them already. I imagine that putting sabermetrics into Wolfram Alpha would be relatively easy. You have a player statistics database already compiled (http://www.baseball-databank.org/) as well as game logs back to the 50s or earlier (retrosheet.org), all of it fastidiously compiled and tagged. Imagine if a curious baseball fan could just type in “career home run leaders in indoor stadiums” (Yes, Retrosheet has that data), or, “Most home runs by a non-Hall of Famer,” or “Switch-hitter OPS career leader” and Wolfram Alpha could spit it out. The sabermetric community would be eternally grateful.

Posted by Owen March 15, 2010 at 11:43 am